Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 557,100 MORE OF YOU BY 2026


    Overall employment in computer and information technology is expected to grow 13%, which is faster than average for all other occupations. Job growth in areas like software developers is expected to grow even faster (24%).

  • SECURITY JOBS EXPECTED TO INCREASE BY 28%


    As cybersecurity threats increase, more information security analysts are needed to develop protections against hackers and cyberattacks. The U.S. expects to add 28,500 information security analyst jobs by 2026.

  • EARN NEARLY $70,000 AS A STARTING SALARY


    A starting salary for a grad with a bachelor’s degree in computer science is $67,539; someone with a master’s can expect to earn $81,466 to start, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2019 Winter Salary Survey.

Our Research

Your education level and career goals guide whether you are seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science. Some schools on our list offer both degrees online; others offer only one degree in an online format. We only ranked programs that can be completed fully online. Many programs use Coursera, a popular online learning platform. All schools are regionally accredited.

We included Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) undergraduate programs on this list. Choosing between these programs is a matter of preference. A BS degree focuses on in-depth computer science coursework. A BA degree includes liberal arts coursework, and is ideal for students who want to incorporate another area of study into their degree.

We only evaluated the cost of online programs, although many schools offer on-campus programs as well.

Once we selected our top programs, we evaluated their reputation, course strength, flexibility and cost, and calculated the Intelligent Score of each degree on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online computer science programs are respected, affordable, and customizable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 50+ hours to write this article
  • 127 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 248 education programs we compared

The Top 60 Online Computer Science Degrees

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Computer literacy is an essential skill these days, but earning a degree in computer science requires a range of abilities beyond general computing knowledge. Coursework relies heavily on understanding mathematics, technology, and coding language, and having strong analytical, problem-solving, and concentration skills. It’s important to determine if you have the right aptitudes and temperament for this complex area of study.

A bachelor’s degree makes you eligible for most jobs in the computer science field, although some positions require the advanced knowledge of a master’s degree. You may want to factor in this additional education when deciding if this is the right degree for you. Because of the specialized nature of this field, most master’s programs want students who already have a degree or prerequisite coursework in computer science.

If you’re looking to work with computers and information technology in a particular sector like finance, biology or management, having educational experience in that area as well may be beneficial. At the undergraduate level, you can take a concentration, minor, or second major; at the graduate level, you may want to consider an MBA instead of an MS. Consider what your ultimate career goals are, and if a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science is the correct step to get you there..

What’s Next?

Ask these questions when selecting an online computer science degree:

  • Do I need a Bachelor’s in computer science to be eligible for this master’s program? Because of the highly specialized nature of this field, most computer science master’s programs expect applicants to have a bachelor’s degree or at least prior coursework in computer science. Make sure you meet eligibility requirements for the program, or can complete them prior to enrolling.
  • Does this program have the specialization I want? Many computer science degree programs cover a range of related skills, but some offer specializations in areas like information security, software engineering, and data management and analysis. If you know you want to focus on a specific area within computer science, check to see if the program you’re exploring offers that type of specialization.

Once you’ve found the programs that interest you, research their application processes and requirements. This information is typically available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly if you have questions.

Financing your education is another important consideration. Research scholarship opportunities and financial aid deadlines. If you are currently employed, check with your employer to see if tuition remission/reimbursement benefits are available.